Life in Recovery: The Power of Education for Sustained Recovery

Life in Recovery: The Power of Education for Sustained Recovery

As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes, recovery is a process of change. Moreover, recovery has four major dimensions: health, home, purpose, and community. In finding your sense of purpose, looking toward education for sustained recovery can support making meaning in your life.

Whether you find meaning in work, volunteering, or school, it gives you the resources you need to participate in society. The sense of belonging and connection that comes with an adaptive approach to living supports recovery. In particular, education for sustained recovery can open the door to increased self-understanding.

At Driftwood Recovery, we know forming healthy attachments in yourself and with others can turn clinical insight into action. The action of insight starts with opening yourself up to learning and growing. Education is an integral part of the recovery process that gives you access to tools to support deeper self-understanding. With deeper self-understanding, you are more equipped to make positive changes in your life. Thus, seeking education can support building a self-directed and fulfilling life in recovery.

Yet, you may question how education for sustained recovery impacts your life. Considering the relationship between substance misuse and school can provide insight into the power of education for sustained recovery.

Drop Out: Addressing the Impact of Substance Use on Education

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes, experiencing multiple symptoms of severe substance use disorder (SUD) in adolescence is consistent with SUD in adulthood. Thus, the severity of substance misuse in adolescence highlights increased vulnerability for SUD. The consequences of early misuse can be seen in the academic performance of young people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a close relationship between health and education. Students who use substances in adolescence are more likely to have poor academic grades. In particular, students with higher grades are less likely to use marijuana, misuse prescription medication, or use substances before the age of 13.

Yet, how does substance use contribute to poor academic performance? As noted in the Journal of School Health, substance use is associated with learning and memory deficits. Regardless of age, substances change your brain, like interfering with the way information is processed. Thus, substance misuse can impair thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Moreover, substance use can be even more detrimental to underage people because the brain is still developing. The impact substance use can have on your ability to do things like concentrate, problem-solve, or make decisions highlights impairment to the types of skills needed to be academically successful in school. Furthermore, many of the impairments that are born out of SUD can also be found in mental health challenges. Therefore, mental health disorders showcase their impact on academic success.

Addressing the Challenges of Mental Health in School Settings

When left unaddressed, mental health challenges can impede education for sustained recovery. Thus, with more awareness of education and mental wellness, you can recognize the value of education for sustained recovery. As noted in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, difficulties with externalizing or internalizing problems contribute to poor academic performance and higher dropout rates.

For example, externalizing issues like conduct disorder (CD) can lead to conflict with school authority figures. Through conflict with teachers and administrators, children experience social exclusion, like frequent suspensions that disrupt academic participation. At the same time, internalizing issues like depression and anxiety in school contribute to impaired psychosocial functioning, like difficulty concentrating.

The consequences of poor academic performance can follow you across your life course, from the loss of job opportunities and financial instability to poor health and life satisfaction. Thus, looking at the impact of mental health challenges on learning highlights the value of education for sustained recovery.

Benefits of Education for Sustained Recovery

There are a variety of educational benefits that can support building a meaningful life. For instance, more job opportunities and, thus, higher pay can be beneficial to maintaining recovery. However, building a life based on purpose is also valuable to recovery through education. Whether you are seeking your GED or higher education in college, education for sustained recovery can expand your understanding of yourself and your place in the world. Some of the ways education for sustained recovery can empower you include:

  • Self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence
  • Belief in yourself
  • Self-awareness and self-understanding
  • Expanded knowledge and skills

Despite the benefits of education, the thought of returning to school can be daunting. School can be a stressor that impedes well-being. However, with support, education can be a tool for adaptability and wellness. Through supportive programs like recovery high schools (RHSs) and recovery colleges, you can find education for sustained recovery no matter where you are in your journey.

Breaking Down Barriers: Supporting Education for Sustained Recovery

RHSs provide both educational and therapeutic support to students in recovery. Combining recovery meetings, family programs, wellness activities, and traditional education classes helps students learn how to live a life in recovery in the real world. Similarly, recovery programs in college also provide access to educational and therapeutic support. According to “College Programming for Students in Addiction Recovery” by Noel Vest et al., collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) create a recovery-friendly environment where things like peer support, recovery housing, and easy access to counseling staff can help you thrive.

Healing With Education for Sustained Recovery at Driftwood Recovery

Access to resources like CRPs is made possible by services like an alumni program. Through alumni, you gain access to a wide range of services and resources like education for sustained recovery. At Driftwood Recovery, we believe providing access to resources like education consultants and employee assistance programs strengthens our therapeutic impact for lasting recovery. Through an expansive and connection-driven network, our alumni make education for sustained recovery possible. No matter where you are on your recovery journey, we are committed to providing the resources you need to thrive in every part of your life.

Challenges with SUD and/or mental health disorders can impede your functioning. Substances and mental distress can cause impairment in areas like concentration, decision-making, and feelings, which can increase the risk of poor academic performance and dropout. The consequences of poor academic performance can include financial insecurity, loss of opportunities, and poor health. Thus, a lack of quality education can further increase your risk for challenges with SUD and mental health disorders. However, with support like recovery high schools and college recovery programs, education for sustained recovery is possible. At Driftwood Recovery, we are committed to connecting you to a wide network of services to help you thrive. Call us at (512) 759-8330 to learn more about education in recovery.